Raptors eliminate Bucks despite Antetokounmpo’s 34 points

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks went on a 34-7 run to erase a 25-point deficit, but were eliminated by the Toronto Raptors 92-89.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting, but he made perhaps a critical error that could have provided Milwaukee a better chance to win. Down by three with less than 11 seconds remaining, Antetokounmpo dribbled out the clock at the top of the key, but instead of setting up a three-point shot, he drove in for a dunk with 3.5 seconds left.

DeMar DeRozan drained a pair of free throws on the other end to extend Toronto’s lead back to three points and Milwaukee’s in-bounds pass was intercepted, handing the Bucks their third-straight loss in the series.

Milwaukee was leading the series 2-1 before heading back to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for game four. It’s the first time in Toronto history the Raptors have won three straight games in a playoff series.

Khris Middleton returned from an illness to score 19 points in 42 minutes of action. Matthew Dellavedova was next on the team in scoring with 12 off the bench.

Raptors blow out Bucks in Game 5 to take series lead

TORONTO — All five starters scored in double digits as the Toronto Raptors blew past the Milwaukee Bucks 118-93 in Monday night’s game five of the NBA playoffs.

Norman Powell had a playoff career-high 25 points to lead a Raptors team that shot nearly 58 percent from the field. Serge Ibaka followed with 19 points, six rebounds, and three blocks.

Fighting through an illness, Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton only contributed eight points in Milwaukee’s losing effort. Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in a game-high 30 to go with his nine rebounds.

Milwaukee started out sluggish, turning the ball over three times, while Toronto opened up an early lead. That lead grew to 19 late in the first half, but the Bucks were able to close it to six just before intermission. But coming out of the locker room, the Raptors slowly built the lead back up, grabbing 40 of the game’s 63 rebounds.

The series moves back to Milwaukee for a possible series-deciding game six on Thursday, with the Raptors holding a 3-2 series lead.

Bucks steal game 1 in Toronto 97-83

TORONTO — The Milwaukee Bucks hadn’t won a road playoff game one in 17 tries, but 28 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo helped snap that trend in a 97-83 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Antetokounmpo shot 72 percent from the field in the win, adding eight rebounds and two steals to the stat sheet. Perhaps more importantly, his supporting cast did their part, with five other Bucks players scoring in the double digits. Greg Monroe was particularly effective, logging 14 points and 15 rebounds off the bench.

Toronto scored just 32 points in the second half, struggling to 36 percent shooting overall. The Raptors couldn’t take advantage of 47 total rebounds, turning the ball over 10 times. DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 27 points and eight rebounds.

Bucks clinch at least a six seed in playoffs with win over Hornets

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks can do no worse than a No. 6 seed in the postseason after taking down the Charlotte Hornets 89-79 Monday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists marked his eighth triple double of the season, in which the Bucks are 7-1. Tony Snell and Greg Monroe led Milwaukee in scoring with 16 points apiece, while holding Charlotte’s Frank Kaminsky III to three points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.

The Bucks not only crashed the boards with a 45-39 advantage over the Hornets, but they shot 57 percent (16-of-28) from three-point range. They could improve in the turnover department, however, allowing Charlotte 16 opportunities to stay in the game.

Playoff Seeding Scenarios
MIL is a No. 6 seed with a win or a loss at BOS
MIL is a No. 5 seed with a win at BOS, plus two losses by ATL

If the Playoffs Started Today…
Bucks (6) vs Raptors (3): TOR leads season series 3-1
Last game: Mar. 4 | MIL 101, TOR 94

Milwaukee’s win over Charlotte gave the Bucks a 42-39 record, securing a winning season for just the sixth time in the last 26 years.

The Neighborhood: Feigin reveals timeline for All Star Game, Bucks D-League name

MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin joined “The Neighborhood” on Sunday morning to reveal timelines for hosting a future All Star Game and a team name for the new Development League affiliate in Oshkosh.

Feigin discussed the process the Bucks used to submit proposals to host a future All Star Game, which will be either in the 2020-2021 season or the 2021-2022 season. That process, he explained, involved a shared interest with the NBA to bring an All Star Game to Milwaukee.

“It’s a matter of when,” Feigin began. “…Part of our campaign and what we’ve said to the NBA is ‘We’re all in this together. This is a huge message for a small-market team to have [the All Star Game] on an international stage.'”

“My expectation is if we didn’t get it for 2021, some team that was maybe a little more deserving might get it, but there’s no way we’re not going to get it in the near future, which is important to us.”

Feigin also announced a timeline for naming the D-League team being established in Oshkosh, which broke ground on arena construction early last week.

While a team name is set to be announced in the “next couple weeks,” the Bucks have made it a priority that they’d like the name to be taken seriously, thus, names like the “Deer Ticks” and “B’Goshs” are not being considered. Feigin said at least one of the names up for discussion was submitted by a fan, but he didn’t provide any other hints.

Westbrook’s career night lifts Thunder over Bucks

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Milwaukee Bucks dropped their second straight game Tuesday night in a 110-79 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder that saw Russell Westbrook tie an NBA record for triple doubles.

Westbrook scored 12 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and assisted on 13 shots to tie former Bucks great Oscar Robertson for an NBA-record 41 triple doubles on the season. Five other players on the Thunder roster finished with double-digit points.

”It’s one of those nights, a special night, and something I definitely will never forget,” Westbrook said. ”I’m just truly honored to do it here, especially in Oklahoma City.”

It was not a good showing for the Bucks, who were coming off a record-setting month of March where they won 14 games. Milwaukee shot just 36 percent overall Tuesday night, converting on 3-of-18 (16.7 percent) of three-point attempts. The Bucks were also out-rebounded 53-38.

Milwaukee has just four games left in the regular season and remains in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings with a two-game lead over eighth place Indiana. That’s where the Bucks travel to next, meeting the Pacers Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

Jason Kidd named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month

MILWAUKEE | Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has been named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for March. Under Kidd’s guidance, the Bucks won an NBA-best 14 games in March and had the Eastern Conference’s top winning percentage after going 14-4 (.778) during the month.

Milwaukee’s 14 wins in March were the most the team has had in a month since February of 1971 when Milwaukee went 16-2, and rank as the third-most wins in a month in franchise history. The Bucks began the month 26-30, in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, and finished March a season-high four games over .500 at 40-36 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. March was highlighted by a season-high six-game winning streak from March 3 through March 11 (the team’s longest win streak since the 2011-12 season) and a 4-2 West Coast road trip, which marked the Bucks’ most wins on a single road trip since the 1988-89 season.

Kidd is the sixth head coach in franchise history to win the Coach of the Month award, and the first since Scott Skiles in February of 2010.

Fourth quarter push lifts Mavs over Bucks

MILWAUKEE — A 34-point fourth quarter for the Dallas Mavericks gave them a 109-105 win over the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday afternoon.

Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, Dallas erased a seven-point third-quarter deficit led by the 31 points of Harrison Barnes. He shot over 69 percent from the field and made all 10 of his free throw attempts. Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea each added 17 to contribute in the win. Giannis Antetokounmpo was Milwaukee’s high-point man with 31, adding 15 rebounds and nine assists.

”I think it wasn’t who we are today,” Antetokounmpo said. ”We didn’t play hard enough. We didn’t do what we usually do. That’s the game, and we move on.”

Gary Payton II signed a two-year partially-guaranteed contract with the Bucks over the weekend and scored five points in eight minutes of play in his debut.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Payton told reporters after the game. “It’s just beyond a blessing to get an opportunity to play here. I felt good tonight and got that first one under my belt. I’m ready to continue to learn.”

Bucks sign Gary Payton II to two-year contract

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks signed Gary Payton II to a two-year contract, multiple reports indicated on Sunday.

The deal includes a contract for the 2017-18 season that’s only partially guaranteed, which theoretically gives Payton the chance to not only make an NBA roster, but to make the maximum money his talents allow. That’s not an entirely surprising decision, given Milwaukee’s previous interest in Payton in last summer’s NBA Draft.

Payton fell, rather unceremoniously, out of the draftable rounds and ended up on the Houston Rockets D-League affiliate this season where he’s averaged 14.2 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting. Payton went undrafted after two seasons at Oregon State.

The move comes less than 48 hours after the Bucks requested waivers on Terrence Jones, who appeared in just four games for the Bucks since being claimed in early March.

Clutch Brogdon gives Bucks 103-100 win over Celtics

BOSTON — The Milwaukee Bucks held off a Boston Celtics rally for a 103-100 win thanks to six key points down the stretch from rookie Malcolm Brogdon.

Brogdon finished the game with 16 points and nine rebounds, but none bigger than the contested shot he converted with just seconds remaining to seal the win for Milwaukee.

”Tonight the ball was in my hands at the end of the game,” Brogdon said. ”It takes a lot of character and will to win more than anything to have it in a rookie’s hands at the end of the game.”

Brogdon’s confidence is one of the reasons his play has put him in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. The 26-year-old Virginia product is averaging 10.3 points per game and shooting nearly 46 percent on the season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo added 22 points and nine rebounds, while Khris Middleton poured in 19 points. The win keeps Milwaukee in a tie with Atlanta for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings with seven games to go. The Bucks have a two-game cushion in the playoff hunt and have won five of their last six, including the last four on the road.

Milwaukee returns home for a pair of games this weekend against the Pistons and Mavericks.